6 Ways to Help a Friend That Has a Loved One in the Hospital

Nurse Next Door

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I never thought at the age of 27 I’d be pulling all nighters in the ICU to be by my dad’s side. When I got the news that my dad had a stroke, my life was immediately put on hold. My work, my relationship, my business, time with my dog were all abandoned to say the least. When people told me “I can’t imagine what you’re going through” I responded with “don’t imagine, it’s horrible.” In two weeks, my dad was admitted to a local hospital and transferred to a hospital that specialized in neurology. He had surgery on his brain, got transferred back to his local hospital, made it out onto the stroke floor, got pneumonia, was readmitted to the ICU and sadly passed away.

I’ve been working at Nurse Next Door for over a year now and have been sharing the stories of clients, daughters and sons that have been through similar situations. You would think I’d be more prepared for something of this nature. Nothing can emotionally prepare you for a situation like this, it was a roller coaster. I had an out-pour of support from friends, family and co-workers. It was phenomenal to know how many people cared for me and my family. The most common texts I received were, “What can I do to help?” In my head my response was, “Can you get my dad healthy and out of the hospital?”

I hate feeling vulnerable and though it felt like nobody could do anything to put my situation at ease, my friends and family actually came to the rescue with small gestures that made the process more tolerable.

Here are the top 6 things people did to ensure I was well cared for:

  1. Gift with Books– I’m usually an audiobook kind of girl, but I really enjoyed having a physical book to read and escape the reality of being in the ICU.
  2. Home Cooked Meals – There was only so many hospital food court meals I could tolerate. I didn’t have much of an appetite but when I did eat it was usually a home-cooked meal from a family member or friend. There was a good balance of comfort and nutritious food. My body had already taken a toll on the multiple flights and sleepless nights, so it was vital to get the healthy meals in to boost my immune system.
  3. Visits at the Hospital – I had a lot of friends come meet at the hospital to keep me company. Whether it was by my dad’s side or meeting for a coffee in the food court, this helped time pass and get my mind off the situation.
  4. Caring for a Pet/Child – I couldn’t imagine being in this situation with children but I do have a dog. I was lucky to have loved ones take my little guy for walks and feed him. This was a huge stress reliever knowing he was in good hands so I could focus on spending time with my dad.
  5. Have an outing outside the hospital – “You need to take care of yourself” is what the nurses would say daily. Leaving the hospital to do something for YOU does feel slightly wrong. Even though I wasn’t in the mood to do anything fun, I greatly appreciated conversation that wasn’t about cat scans, fevers, blood pressure or be in a setting that didn’t involve scrubs.
  6. Offer rides to/from the hospital

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